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A Century of Ghastly Communist Sadism

Communism isn't something for romantic nostalgia.

"Let there be floods of blood," declared Krasnaia gazeta, the official newspaper of the Red Army in 1918. From the enemies of the revolution, there should be "more blood, as much as possible."

A few months before, the Bolsheviks had seized power from the provisional government that had been installed in the final days of Russia's Romanov dynasty. The revolution ushered in what would become a century of ghastly sadism.

The world will mark the 100th anniversary of that revolution this November 7. Yet while the Soviet Union is no more and communism has been discredited in most eyes for many years, it is hard even now to grasp the sheer scale of agony imposed by the brutal ideology of collectivism.

Few now dare question the degree of human misery that communism inflicted. Yet there were many, during its height, who fell victim to what Solzhenitsyn called "the desire not to know." They either refused to acknowledge the facts staring them in the face, or actively tried to cover them over with lies.

Walter Duranty, the New York Times reporter who won a Pulitzer for denying the truth of Soviet famine, might be the most famous. (The Times eventually conceded that Duranty's coverage was disgraceful, but the Pulitzer board has never revoked the award.) Yet there were legions of others, a few of whom continue to insist even today that communism really was not so bad.

For some time, debate also roiled over whether Joseph Stalin's summary executions, liquidations, forced labor camps, and endless other crimes against the Russian people were a departure from the so-called ideals of the revolution, or their all-but-inevitable result. The opening of Soviet archives put that debate to rest: Russian communism was a regime of terror from the very beginning.

In 1918 Iakov Peters, deputy to Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of the secret police, declared that "anyone daring to agitate against the Soviet government will immediately be arrested and placed in a concentration camp." The enemies of the working class, he promised, would be met with "mass terror."

For sanction, Peters had the word of none other than Lenin himself. "Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers," Lenin ordered in 1918. "Publish their names. Take from them all the grain. Designate hostages. Do it in such a way so that for hundreds of versts around people will see, tremble, know, shout: They are strangling, strangling to death the bloodsucker kulaks." (The term "kulak" referred to peasants well-off enough to hire workers.) "It is necessary secretly—and urgently—to prepare the terror," he ordered shortly thereafter.

Over the next several months the secret police of the Cheka carried out mass executions in a campaign that would become known as the Red Terror. In "Red Victory," W. Bruce Lincoln writes that one early estimate claimed the Cheka shot "more than eight thousand people in the twenty provinces of Central Russia before the end of July 1919, but by all accounts that figure was a gross understimate."

It was also just the beginning.

In 1997, a French publisher published "The Black Book of communism," which tried to place a definitive figure on the number of people who died by communism's hand: 65 million in China, 20 million in the Soviet Union, 2 million in Cambodia, 2 million in North Korea, and so on—more than 90 million lives, all told.

Many of them died by famine. But the famines were man-made disasters: the result of expropriation, forced collectivization, and other policies. In 2013, Yang Jisheng told The Guardian about the effects of the Great Famine in China, which killed tens of millions between 1958 and 1961: "People died in the family and they didn't bury the person because they could still collect their food rations; they kept the bodies in bed and covered them up and the corpses were eaten by mice. People ate corpses and fought for the bodies. In Gansu they killed outsiders; people told me strangers passed through and they killed and ate them. And they ate their own children. Terrible. Too terrible."

The publication of the Black Book precipitated a debate over whether communism was as bad as Naziism. There might be a technically correct answer to that question, but it seems perverted to ask. It's like asking whether you'd rather watch your children murdered by strangling or by drowning. Taking sides in such a debate at all borders on depraved.

But depravity was woven into the sinews of communism by its very nature. The history of the movement is a history of sadistic "struggle sessions" during the Cultural Revolution, of gulags and psychiatric wards in Russia, of the torture and murder of teachers, doctors, and other intellectuals in Cambodia, and on and on.

This confounds those who look at the idea of communism and see something noble: a classless society in which everyone is, blessedly, equal—where there is no want, no envy, and no greed. Yet while that vision, however fanciful, might hold some surface appeal, it ignores the necessary means to the desired end. Because the only practical manner by which such a society conceivably might be attained is to subordinate the individual to the collective, wholly and utterly. Individual wants and wishes—indeed, any personal autonomy except of the most minimal sort—must be set aside for the sake of the planned society.

Human freedom, in communist society, is an obstacle to higher ends, since it interferes with social regulation and can even lead people to question the government. As Friedrich Engles himself wrote: "Political liberty is sham-liberty."

Despite this gruesome butcher's bill, you still find those who harbor a soft spot for communism. You see it in the posters and T-shirts lionizing the murderous Che Guevara. And in The New York Times' current series on the "Red Century," which includes pieces on "Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism" ("Yes, there was repression behind the Iron Curtain. But it wasn't sexual") and "Lenin's Eco-Warriors" ("How did Russia... become a global pioneer in conservation? Much of the answer begins with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.")

Pause for a moment to read those sentences with "Naziism" and "Hitler" in place of "socialism" and "Lenin." Yes, Hitler murdered millions of Jews, but...

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    Careful with the picture, some of us are at work!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "How did Russia... become a global pioneer in conservation? Much of the answer begins with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin."

    So, the same way the USSR became a unicorn sanctuary, then.

  • Rat on a train||

    A pioneer? Lenin? Is this the same Russia or is there an alternate Russia somewhere?

  • Mickey Rat||

    If Russia is a leader in conservation today it is because they are trying to fix how Leninism truly wrecked the landscape, see the amazing vanishing Aral Sea.

  • Ride 'Em||

    I guess Chernobyl doesn't count.

  • damikesc||

    And the truly terrifying part of Cambodia is that the 2M dead is out of a country with less than 10M people. When an ideology kills, roughly, 1/4 of a country...it's a problem.

    I cannot take Communists as being any better than Nazis. Our best move in World War II would've been to attack Japan only, allow the Nazis and Communists to obliterate one another and then move in and wipe out the remaining member of both sides.

    Do the world a favor.

  • John C. Randolph||

    That option was precluded by Adolf the Incompetent when he declared war on the United States right after the Pearl Harbor attack.

    -jcr

  • damikesc||

    Still could have heavily de-emphasized Europe and focus on Asia first.

  • Calidissident||

    We didn't directly move against Germany in Europe until 1944 (though the Italian and North African campaigns preceded that), it's not like we focused on Europe and then turned our attention to Asia. If anything, if we are going this route, I think it would make more sense to invade Europe sooner so less Nazi-occupied land could be "liberated" by the Soviets. The Nazis left no choice both by declaring war, and engaging a mass campaign of genocide against Jews and Slavs. Both regimes were totalitarian nightmares with massive body counts, but the Nazis made themselves the more urgent threat during the timeframe of WWII. And by the time it was over, there was little appetite to take on the Soviet war machine. I don't think it would have turned out much better if we waited, and it's possible that the Soviets could have taken almost all of Europe if we didn't get involved when we did.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The intended Allied strategy was "Europe First". It did not turn out entirely that wah becsyse of circumstsnces and the US Navy demanding resources to fight Japan.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Operation Torch was a trivial exercise and of course it wasn't in europe proper so it doesn't count. Eigth air force? Little more than kites.

    Yeesh, talk about revisionist history.

  • ||

    Let's be honest, the US was supplying, exchanging secrets, and in cases were attacking German shipping before the war officially started. FDR wanted war with Germany, Chamberlain did as well. Hitler saw it as if it strictly Japan v. US and the colonials, Japan will lose, so he wanted to make the US fight on two fronts. It failed, but this was forced on him by FDR's Japan gambit.

  • Deven||

    Communists are way better than Nazis because Communism is left wing and Nazism is right wing.

    Source: My arbitrary and purposefully vague definition of the political spectrum.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Communists are better than Nazis because Nazis are explicitly racist and non-egalitarian, whereas communists usually conceal their racism and pretend to be egalitarian.

    Source: My own observations from history.

  • ||

    Your arbitrary and purposefully vague definition of the political spectrum is incorrect.

    Communism and Nazism (and Marxism and Fascism and Socialism) are ideologies cut from the same left side of the cloth.

  • Deven||

    Well all the real news sources say that Nazis are right wing and since they also say that Republicans are right wing that means Republicans are Nazis, which means they are bad, and the opposite of Republican is Democrat so that means they must be good.

  • ||

    Heh.

    Fake news!

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Nope. Both socialists. Both leftist. Just different flavors.

  • BeamMeUp||

    The Japanese considered invading the Soviet Far East in 1941 to avenge a defeat they suffered in August 1939 in a short conflict that's received little attention. There's a 2012 article about it on The Diplomat site entitled "The Forgotten Soviet-Japanese War of 1939.": http://thediplomat.com/2012/08.....of-1939/2/

    The Soviets would have had a two-front war on their hands.

  • ||

    But FDR did his absolute best to ensure that didn't happen. Hell, they even moved to Pearl Harbour for this purpose, and blockaded Japan, froze assets...This forced Japan to go south for the easier pickings, against the strategic victory of splitting the ghastly inefficient USSR.

  • Zeb||

    I really see no need to rank them for absolute badness. Both are just bad.

  • Ride 'Em||

    Our best move in WWII would have been to keep the fleet in San Diego like the admirals wanted and not move it to Pearl Harbor like the socialist FDR ordered and sacked an admiral to do it. After all FDR did sail a dinghy on the weekend.

  • Lachowsky||

    Our best move WRT Japan would have been to engage in free trade with them. There would have been no pearl harbor and no Japanese thrust into the Philippines if they were able to buy U.S. oil to continue their war in china.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Yes, I'm sure appeasing Japan would have made them less aggressive towards us. However, we weren't interested in appeasement.

  • ||

    He wanted war with Japan and he got it.

  • CE||

    Our best move in World War II would've been to attack Japan only, allow the Nazis and Communists to obliterate one another and then move in and wipe out the remaining...

    Sort of like Cersei's plan in Westeros.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Anyone claiming that Russia was a "leader in conservation" should be shown Lake Baikal up close and personal.

    -jcr

  • Old Mexican's Speedos||

    Or the Aral sea, which is now a pond...

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's actually three rapidly-shrinking ponds in the middle of a desert.

  • DarrenM||

    Obviously due to global war....err....climate change.

  • Cyto||

    They did pretty good around Chernobyl.... No poaching or anything in that nature preserve.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Don't forget packs of genetically modified wolves.

  • Cloudbuster||

    There's good money in hiring out the three-headed wolves to play Cerberus in fantasy movies.

  • BeamMeUp||

    Chernobyl -- Centralized planning at its finest.

  • gah87||

    Everything is pretty much poached.

  • damikesc||

    Just look at photos of the area around the Berlin Wall when it came down. West Germany was a shit ton cleaner than East Germany was.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I am still wondering when certain history deniers will demand that all references to the Oktober Revolution are torn from the history books and historical markers are torn down?

  • Zeb||

    Are there people calling for the Civil War to be excised from history?

    Quite a lot of Soviet monuments have been removed.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Democrats already are in denial about the Civil War's causes being other reasons besides slavery, that they started the KKK, and created Jim Crowe laws. Excising Civil War history is next. Its what socialists do- try and eliminate things they don't like. Stalin was famous for having people removed from photos.

    Lenin still has a state protected tomb after all he did to the Russian people.
    Socialist statues go up while Civil War statues come down
    You don't really know what you are talking about because you are trying to make it seem like relatively few socialist statues being taken down out of thousands is "quote a lot".

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    The publication of the Black Book precipitated a debate over whether communism was as bad as Naziism. There might be a technically correct answer to that question...

    100 million vs 10 million is hardly a technical answer. They are the same ideology in practical terms.

  • mtrueman||

    "They are the same ideology in practical terms."

    Nazism was far superior if you were a member of the aristocracy, the military or the rich. Under Nazism the membership of these groups thrived. Their private property was respected. This was not the case under communism. For a libertarian to claim they were the same is ridiculous.

  • Deven||

    The people they murdered and the people they allowed to be rich were different, sure.

    But yeah, in practical terms, they are the same ideology. The fascists simply embraced communism in practice, bypassing the murder the rich phase. Probably why their death toll is so much lower.

  • Deven||

    Sorry, murder the middle class phase. We must remember that the bourgeoisie are the middle class, not the rich.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The upper and middle classes tend to be a bit more tractable if you say you won't murder them for simply existing.

  • mtrueman||

    "The fascists simply embraced communism in practice"

    Nonsense. You've heard of private property, haven't you? One could enjoy private property under Nazism, operate business, and earn a profit. Under communism, none of this was possible. That I have to spell this out to libertarians makes happy.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Private property" under fascism operates under the notion of usufruct, rather than straight property rights. The state owns all resources, private interests can have care and use of those resources until the state decides it needs those resources.

    It is not a free market understanding of property rights by any means.

  • mtrueman||

    ""Private property" under fascism operates under the notion of usufruct, rather than straight property rights."

    And private property under communism was non-existent. To claim that property rights under communism and nazism were the same is libertarian moranism.

  • Deven||

    If you could travel back in time and take something from Stalin's possession, you think that would fly? Try squatting in his house.

    Again, the only real difference is semantics. The claim that "private property" (as we are so loosely defining it here) was non-existent in communist countries is absolutely ignorant.

  • Mickey Rat||

    They are not complety the same. Fascism.is a "third way" ideology that assumes some form of totalitarian socialism.is inevitable but that version is a bit more palatable to the upper and middle classes.

  • MarkLastname||

    Horse shit. Party member enjoyed property rights denied to other citizens.

    In both fascism and naziism, one's property is respected to the extent that one connected to the state.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    private property under communism was non-existent

    Nonsense. People owned their clothes as much under Naziism and Communism. Communists could even buy cars, if they were rich enough. That is to say, they didn't, because the State could take any property it wanted at any time, due process be damned,

  • mtrueman||

    People own their own clothes under many systems including the one we live under today. It doesn't mean they are the same. Due process is all very well but it doesn't stop the state from killing with impunity.

  • damikesc||

    People own their own clothes under many systems including the one we live under today. It doesn't mean they are the same. Due process is all very well but it doesn't stop the state from killing with impunity.

    You claimed private property didn't EXIST under Communism. Yet Communist leaders became filthy rich, ate dramatically better than the citizenry. and had no shortage of residences where they lived.

  • mtrueman||

    "You claimed private property didn't EXIST under Communism. Yet Communist leaders became filthy rich, ate dramatically better than the citizenry. and had no shortage of residences where they lived."

    Stalin's home was property of the state, no doubt expropriated from somebody wealthy. Same can be said of all its furnishings. Of course they lived better than their subjects, what leader doesn't, but I don't think Stalin or Hitler for that matter were motivated by greed for wealth.

  • damikesc||

    And private property under communism was non-existent. To claim that property rights under communism and nazism were the same is libertarian moranism.

    Then, uh, why did Stalin have a house of his own? I'm betting his house was pretty safe from the state seizing it. Far moreso than a "capitalist" under Nazism.

  • mtrueman||

    "Then, uh, why did Stalin have a house of his own?"

    Who's gonna stop him? He's Stalin. Even Hitler himself couldn't get that house away from him.

  • Deven||

    Perhaps the idea that "private property" owned exclusively by the master race ruling class is incredibly different from "state owned property". Because everyone was equal and had equal access in the soviet system, amirite?

    Maybe you should talk to the Jews, Poles, and Roma about their property rights.

    It is all picking winners and losers, the rest is simply semantics.

  • ||

    Deven, it's not worth it, arguing with mtrueman is like arguing with Tom Parsons.

  • mtrueman||

    Private property is different from state owned property. You can talk to all the Jews, Poles, and Roma you can find, and they will tell you the same thing.

    " Because everyone was equal and had equal access in the soviet system, amirite?"

    There's no system, including the Soviet system, in which everyone is equal.

  • damikesc||

    Nonsense. You've heard of private property, haven't you? One could enjoy private property under Nazism, operate business, and earn a profit. Under communism, none of this was possible. That I have to spell this out to libertarians makes happy.

    ...provided the regime liked and agreed with you.

    Communism, true, provides prosperity for fewer people. I guess that is better.

    Venezuela is starving, but Maduro is worth $2M and Chavez was worth $1B.
    Castro was worth $900M. Cuba has been on its ass for decades.
    Kim Jong-Un? $5B. Do we need to mention how great North Korea is doing?

    For a society that didn't allow people to make profits, man, the head of the state tended to make a killing. Also tended to have exceptionally nice houses and toys that others do not have. Note that you don't see a lot of starving Communist leaders.

  • mtrueman||

    "Note that you don't see a lot of starving Communist leaders."

    You are simply re-iterating my point. Nazism is far superior to Communism.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    From the libertarian perspective, there really aren't any important differences between brands of murderous totalitarianism.

  • Mickey Rat||

    That should be the end of discussion. Between the two, there is not much to choose from, just a somewhat different flavor of a society gone mad.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's like, do you want to eat the turd that has corn in it, or the turd that has peanuts in it?

  • Deven||

    Right, in a proper advanced society, you pay me 100 dollars to eat the corn turd, I pay you 100 dollars to eat the peanut turd, and we increase GDP by 200 dollars.

    Baby steps, I guess.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    sounds much like a recent election...

  • mtrueman||

    "From the libertarian perspective,"

    This is your problem. From what I've learned here, libertarians are morans. From an entrepreneurial perspective, communism and nazism are like chalk and cheese. Under nazism, one could own property, and operate a business. Under communism, businesses and property were confiscated by the state.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I'll say it again, since you didn't understand it the first time: there really aren't any important differences between brands of murderous totalitarianism.

    If the State can ship you off to a death camp for any reason, it hardly matters if you might be allowed to start a business in the meantime.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    And if the state can take your clothes, toys, furniture, car, and any other 'property' at any time, it makes little difference whether you think it is yours. mtrueman continues to show his willful ignorance.

  • mtrueman||

    "And if the state can take your clothes, toys, furniture, car..."

    Any state can do these things, and worse. In the USA the state forced people of Japanese heritage into concentration camps.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Any state can do these things

    Now you're beginning to get the picture.

  • mtrueman||

    "If the State can ship you off to a death camp for any reason,"

    States don't ship folks off to death camps for any reason, they have specific reasons, and these reasons are quite different under nazism and communism. There were plenty of people who operated businesses under nazism. It obviously mattered to them, whether or not you approve.

  • Deven||

    The specific reason in all instances is that you are not in the interest or acting in the interest of the state.

    But yeah, lets go to great pains to differentiate the murderer who killed because someone stepped on his shoes and the murderer who killed because someone looked at him funny.

  • mtrueman||

    "But yeah, lets go to great pains to differentiate the murderer who killed because someone stepped on his shoes and the murderer who killed because someone looked at him funny."

    Believe it or not, once upon a time it made a difference. At least to the bourgeois powers of the UK and US. They went to war against the toe-stepper and allied with the funny-looker.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Why are you arguing that being allowed to own a business is the only freedom that matters? Do you think libertarians believe that? Do you think it matters why a government is shipping people off to death camps, if a government is shipping people off to fucking death camps?

    Also, in case your continued misunderstandings are due to a lack of proficiency in English, the phrase "any reason" includes all specific reasons. I think it's more likely you're being willfully obtuse, though.

  • mtrueman||

    "Why are you arguing that being allowed to own a business is the only freedom that matters? "

    I'm not saying it's the only freedom that matters. It's a freedom that exists under nazism and doesn't exist under communism. I'm doing this to argue against the notion that the two systems are indistinguishable, as some here would have it. As an entrepreneur, I'd rather continue business as usual under the nazis that face the gulag under communism.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Of course they're distinct systems, but as i said elsewhere in the thread, one is a turd with corn in it and the other is a turd with peanuts in it. You're trying to say that the corn turd is preferable because some people are allergic to peanuts, and i'm saying it is preferable to not eat turds.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    mtrueman said:
    Under nazism, one could own property, and operate a business. Under communism, businesses and property were confiscated by the state.


    Except the Jews who were not allowed to own property. Plus, all the other people not allowed to own property in Nazi Germany.

    You are mistaking powerful German business families being able to operate businesses which the German military state needed and average Germans who were allowed to "own" property which belonged to the German state. The German state did seize property all the time.

  • mtrueman||

    "The German state did seize property all the time."

    All states do this. What's the point of being a state if you don't steal property? I pointed out in my first comment, that, no, communism and nazism are not the same. If you are an aristocrat, you faced the firing squad under communism. If you're an officer, you faced endless purges and summary executions. If you're a factory owner, it's the gulag for you.

  • macsnafu||

    "From what I've learned here, libertarians are morans"

    A 'moran'? What's a moran? Or do you mean that it's a name, like Erin Moran?

    Meh, at least you didn't call libertarians macaroons!

  • mtrueman||

    It's just another word meaning idiot. Maybe got the spelling wrong. I'll get back to you on this.

  • damikesc||

    I wouldn't care about mentioning a difference except one ideology is fellated in the pages of the NYT.

  • Nicholas Conrad||

    Only if they joined the party and towed the line. And if they said or did the wrong things they were branded traitors, executed, and their property expropriated directly, or given to a worthy party faithful.

    Whereas in communism the party elite had many luxuries unattainable by the people at large, so long as they said and did only the right things.. lest they be branded traitors and executed, their fineries passed down to a more worthy party faithful.

    So you're right, completely different.

  • mtrueman||

    "So you're right, completely different"

    Of course, I'm right, but I wouldn't say completely different. Both parties were to some degree anti-clerical. Under communism, churches were closed and clergy persecuted. One of Stalin's first acts was to destroy the ancient cathedral in Red Square. Under Nazism, such destruction and persecution didn't take place, at least not nearly to the same extent. Nazis couldn't even muster the political will to remove religious instruction from state colleges.

  • Deven||

    Both parties wanted to replace classic religion with worship of the state. The Communists through gosateizm, the Nazis through some weird Hitler is the new Jesus shit.

  • mtrueman||

    "Both parties wanted to replace classic religion with worship of the state."

    The differences lay not in what they wanted so much as their will to make their desires a reality. If you were a cleric in some fairly mainstream church, like the Lutheran or Orthodox church, this difference might be life (under Nazism) and death (under communism). If you were an entrepreneur, the difference could be business as usual under Nazism, or a one way ticket to the gulag under communism. Two very different outcomes.

  • Deven||

    Well, that is taking obfuscation to a whole new level. Define religious persecution to the narrowest term that will help my argument, then make bold claim based on my new definition.

  • BearOdinson||

    There is another fundamental difference, and that is both "Fascism" and "Nazism" came about through the democratic process. There was no armed overthrow. Therefore, these groups acted a bit more slowly. In the Soviet Union, it was revolution, and then kill all the "counter-revolutionaries".

    It is true that in 1934, an average person (even Jews) would be living a better life in Germany, than in the USSR.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    if you were a member of the aristocracy, the military or the rich

    Are you seriously claiming that there was no equivalent under Communism? Or maybe you mean "true" communism, which has never been achieved because evil capitalism pisses on its soup?

  • mtrueman||

    "Are you seriously claiming that there was no equivalent under Communism? Or maybe you mean "true" communism"

    I appreciate your questions, but I've already answered them. All these systems share some similarities. I'm saying the differences are important. True communism was what we saw under Mao and Stalin. On the other hand, I don't think we've yet to see 'true nazism.'

  • ||

    Well I'll give you this, you at least put an end point on "true communism" in the real world.

  • mtrueman||

    I don't think we've yet to see 'true nazism.'

  • CE||

    Under communism you had to be a member of the Party to thrive.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    "Lenin's Eco-Warriors" ("How did Russia... become a global pioneer in conservation? Much of the answer begins with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.")

    The same guys who went hunting on the deposed Czar's lands with machine guns? And built dams wherever they could? And poisoned vast swaths of land with nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons wastes? And had little regard to waste disposal from conventional industries like steel mills, oil production, etc.?

    I suppose I'll need a re-education after the revolution.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Instead of Lenin, Chairman Mao was the exemplary communist eco-warrior, but probably not in the sense the the NYT uses the term.

    In 1958, the Great Helmsman ordered peasants throughout China to eradicate sparrows and other birds. The birds were eating some of the State's grain, comrades, and that meant eco-war. According to Wikipedia, "citizens would bang pots and pans so that sparrows would not have the chance to rest on tree branches and would fall dead from the sky. Sparrow nests were also destroyed, eggs were broken, and chicks were killed. In addition to these tactics, citizens also resorted to simply shooting the birds down from the sky. These mass attacks depleted the sparrow population, pushing it to near extinction." The result was profound ecological damage.

  • Deven||

    But there was consensus from the agricultural scientists!

  • Ron||

    lets not forget the buffalo that were destroyed by the millions.. oh wait the U.S. did that.

    I'm not defending communism etc but I am looking more closely at our own history if we are to use their past against them. I guess what I'm thinking is that the violence and destruction of the past is not always the best debate platform. the only thing that is factual and provable is capitalism has raised more from poverty than any other method to date

  • Deven||

    We're arguing from the perspective of individualism. Free market capitalism and liberty. The USG ordering the destruction of the buffalo population to weaken the natives is not libertarian, nor has any basis in libertarian ideology. A fascist or communist ideology, on the other hand, would have no qualms with this if it were deemed for the "greater good".

  • Ron||

    Everything in Cato's list reminds me of U.S. history Plus the Millions of first arrivers killed for the betterment of the nation. Looking at history the U.S. republic is the better place compared to communism,socialism, marxism at least we sometimes right our wrongs but not always

  • Deven||

    Here is the difference, libertarians will rightly condemn each of those instances, and try to make sure they don't happen again to the best of their ability. A Marxist may condemn them retroactively so they don't look like an asshole, but they'll just do something more horrendous the next time if they deem it for the greater good.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    The US record looks pretty bad when compared with utopia.

    The USSR record looks pretty horrible when compared with the US. Like an order of magnitude worse, particularly if one excludes the environmental degradation caused by the US government.

    The fact is that governments have a very poor environmental record everywhere because everything ranks a distant second to the government's military priorities. The very worst and most toxic sites -- places like the Hanford and Savannah River sites -- in the US were created by government and contractors acting on the instructions of government on military projects. About 1/4 of the Department of Energy's budget is spent on environmental remediation of nuclear waste sites that it created. Nothing created by private parties comes close to the environmental problems that the US government has created. But compared with the USSR, the US looks like the Sierra Club.

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    But we all know _REAL_ Communism has never been tried, with the right Top Men of course.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Antifa?

  • mtrueman||

    "But we all know _REAL_ Communism has never been tried, with the right Top Men of course."

    Communism under Stalin was pretty real. If anything, it's real Nazism that's never been tried. Trouble with the Nazis is that they were slaves of public opinion. This kept them from following through with essential points in their programme like their anti-religious campaign, or their efforts to rid their nation of the mentally retarded etc.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Stalin's communism wasn't _REAL_ Communism. Stalin's bourgeois sensitivities kept him from killing all kulaks, speculators, spies, saboteurs, capitalists, priests, and other enemies of the state. Mao came close, but even he didn't bring about _REAL_ Communism. Pol Pot came the closest to achieving _REAL_ Communism, but Ho Chi Minh's Vietnamese imperialists invaded Democratic Kampuchea and deposed him before the Khmer Rouge could kill everybody.

  • mtrueman||

    Pol Pot was only successful because of the backing he received from bourgeois nations like the US. Hardly a poster boy for real communism. I prefer Stalin, whose communism was real enough for most. As I say, if authentic ideology is your concern, I'd focus on Hitler's fake, half hearted nazism.

  • mtrueman||

    "Pol Pot came the closest to achieving _REAL_ Communism"

    You'd do well to learn a little about Democratic Kampuchea and Pol Pot. It's more complicated than you give it credit. One of the first acts of the Soviet Union was the liquidation of the royal family. There was no such liquidation of the royals in Cambodia. I believe Pol Pot was raised in the royal court and maintained a respectful distance from them throughout his reign, until the Sihinouk family regained the throne. Until then he'd been exiled to China, PolPot's closest, nay only international ally. Funcinpec, the royalist party, was closely linked with Khmer Rouge.

  • mtrueman||

    I've noticed that people here love to mention Pol Pot in their comments. They know pretty much nothing about the man and are simply parroting their favourite CNN or Fox talking head.

  • damikesc||

    Sihanouk supported the Khmer Rouge.

  • mtrueman||

    They supported each other. Support for monarchy means the Khmer Rouge were not the 'real communists' that Cato was wittering on about.

  • BeamMeUp||

    Homer Simpson: "In theory, Communism works. In theory." (Episode: Bart Gets An Elephant - 1994).

  • CE||

    Bernie will get it right.

  • Nicholas Conrad||

    "...whether communism was as bad as Naziism... it seems perverted to ask."

    When collage campuses are filled with kids staring doe-eyed at Che posters and Marx is their single most assigned author, it seems worth making the point that Communism is objectively many times more hateful and murderous.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I think the words you're looking for are "false equivalence." Or so I've been told.

  • Deven||

    Nazism is scarier to people because who was murdered was out of their control. If you could place yourself back in time during those regimes, you could be a good little commie and come out alright. If you happened to be the wrong skin tone or facial structure in Nazi Germany, you were screwed.

    I get that fear, and I understand why the Nazis are more loathed than the communists, but that certainly does not excuse the fact that Marxist ideas are treated as in any way legitimate. Marxism, while not the scariest evil ever known, is the greatest evil ever known both in sheer death tolls and in the hampering of human progress.

  • Adam330||

    "you could be a good little commie and come out alright"

    That's definitely not true. The communists frequently turned on their own in an effort to eliminate challenges to their power, and they didn't care too much if you were actually a potential challenger. That's what Stalin's purges were all about.

  • Deven||

    I'm not saying you're wrong, but I think you misunderstood my point.

  • Adam330||

    I thought your point was that in communism you could avoid be murdered by becoming a communist, but in Naziism you couldn't because they targeted people based on immutable features. If that was your point, then I think you were wrong. If you had some other point, it was not clear.

  • damikesc||

    Yeah. Ask Trotsky how Commies didn't turn on their own.

  • Brian||

    What's the difference between communists and nazis?

    When Nazis kill a million people, it's to cleanse the world for the master race.

    When communists kill a million people, it's building utopia.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    ^This guys gets it.

  • ||

    Joseph Stalin's summary executions, liquidations, forced labor camps, and endless other crimes against the Russian people were a departure from the so-called ideals of the revolution

    I guess the Holodomor falls under "endless other crimes" but there is something uniquely evil about the terror famines and the Great Leap Forward. Starvation is responsible for as many premature deaths in the former Soviet Union and People's Republic of China as all other forms put together and Hitler was a piker compared to Stalin and Mao.

  • Brian||

    There is something fantastically evil about starving millions of people, ostensibly to give them "to each according to their need."

  • mtrueman||

    "I guess the Holodomor falls under "endless other crimes" but there is something uniquely evil about the terror famines and the Great Leap Forward. "

    What's your opinion of Stalin's activities in Kazakhstan? Mourning the dead of Ukraine is pretty much de rigeur in a thread like this, but Stalin's destruction of about half the population of Kazakhstan never gets a mention. Stalin was extremely intolerant of Muslim practices like the head scarf, and traditional nomadic ways. Hitler, on the other hand, was much more in line with the libertarian thinking of today, letting Muslims continue on without expecting them to assimilate as Stalin did.

  • Deven||

    Libertarians were nice to Muslims

    Hitler was nice to Muslims

    Libertarians = Hitler

    /mtrueman logic

  • mtrueman||

    You've misunderstood. My point is that communism is not equal to nazism. If you don't like sharing nazi tolerance for Islam, that's your problem.

  • Brian||

    Hush, child: the adults are speaking.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Hitler was a piker compared to Stalin and Mao.

    It's funny how the leftards go apeshit when I point out that Hitler was a leftard like them, when he wasn't even the worst of the leftards. He was a distant third.

    -jcr

  • ||

    We can never have enough of these articles.

    And when you read Solzhenitsyn it is quite apparent - if not frightening - how the inner workings of 'the organs' mirror the rhetoric from the contemporary left.

    That includes the depraved group of Warren, Sanders, De Blasio etc. and their class warfare mumbo jumbo. Follow their phrases and weasel words to its logical ends. From kulaks to deplorables this is the face of the envious left which will always lead to blood.

  • mtrueman||

    I think you misunderstand. Stalin, Mao etc actually believed their own rhetoric. That's why they took the extreme measures they did. The rhetoric of Warren etc is only a cynical pose to attract a stupid and easily distracted electorate.

  • Deven||

    Everything from scientific atheism to their usage of racism, class warfare, propaganda techniques, economic socialization, erosion of rights (especially 1A and 2A) etc. comes directly from the Marxist playbook and its many addendums.

    Which is a big problem I have with Reason. They stick their head in the sand in regards to what the Democratic Party actually is, or they create false equivalences with todays far, far more classically liberal Republican Party.

  • mtrueman||

    "with todays far, far more classically liberal Republican Party."

    You mean the Republican Party that supports a graduated income tax? Sorry, Deven, that's straight out of the Communist Manifesto. You might read it sometime instead of quoting some imaginary 'Marxist playbook.'

  • BeamMeUp||

    Stalin and Mao tower over Hitler is terms of the number of people who died under Communism because they were in power much longer than him, and ruled over populations much bigger than those he ruled.

    If Hitler hadn't gone to way with the rest of Europe in 1939 and been content to rule Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia (the Munich appeasement), the Nazis might have stayed in power much longer than they did and even continued to rule after Hitler had died of old age. The victims would have still been the Jews, gays, Gypsies and other minorities targeted by the Nazis, but only in those countries.

    As we have seen, dictators usually stay in power for a long time as long as they don't invade other countries. Francisco Franco of Spain stayed neutral and survived to old age. Mussolini's mistake was joining Hitler.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Few now dare question the degree of human misery that communism inflicted.

    Funny. I read and hear leftists all the time telling me how communism just hasn't been done right, yet.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The differences between Communism and Naziim are purely consmetic; minor differences in costume or rhetoric. At the core of both is the all-powerful State, harnessed by an elite, and utterly ruthless. So Communism seizes control of industry in the name of 'the people' and Naziism in the name of 'the Fatherland'; in both cases control and therefore wealth are handed to political allies, personal cronies, and those who just be paid off. The results sre the same.

    The Political Left excuses Communism because it offers a vision of a society where they, the 'intellectuals', rule. Their need for said fantasy is so powerful that they ignore the fact that among the first people liquidated in and Communist revolution are the intellectuals.

    The intellctual Left is morally no different from any other would-be aristocracy; the Social Darwinists, the Southern Planters, or the old European Aristos. None of them give or gave a good goddam how many peasants died so long as THEY were running things.

    *spit*

  • mtrueman||

    "in both cases control and therefore wealth are handed to political allies, personal cronies, and those who just be paid off."

    The same can be said of bourgeois democracies like the USA. The state had all the power and ruthlessness necessary to round up citizens of Japanese ancestry, for example, and herd them into concentration camps.

  • LST||

    Sure, Japanese internment camps = Nazi concentration camps. Go with that.

  • mtrueman||

    "Sure, Japanese internment camps = Nazi concentration camps. "

    Japanese internment camps = a ruthless and violent state, as CSP Schofield put it.

  • colorblindkid||

    But, when compared to the numerous evils perpetrated by every other state actor in the war, was not bad at all. I think people underestimate the way the world worked back then. Also, the reason the camps were made was largely due to a forgotten historical event: the Niihau Incident. It's a pretty remarkable story.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niihau_incident

  • damikesc||

    The death rate in those camps seemed to be considerably lower.

    Certainly lower than the death camps in Siberia as well.

  • mtrueman||

    "Certainly lower than the death camps in Siberia as well."

    That deserves a self delivered pat on the back.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|9.11.17 @ 9:52PM|#
    "Japanese internment camps = a ruthless and violent state, as CSP Schofield put it."

    You pathetic piece of crap, please get lost.
    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

    Anyone who takes his bullshit as other than random noise is wasting time.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    That was done by FDR, a Progressive Democrat Leftist. So blaming it on "bourgeois democracy" is a bit of a stretch. Like Woodrow Wilson before him, FDR has a terrific reputation with Liberal historians, and was an appalling racist in many ways that get very little attention.

  • mtrueman||

    "That was done by FDR..."

    We should also go easy on the whole holocaust business, too. It was done by Hitler, a member of the Nazi party, and an appalling racist, to boot.

    If bourgeois democracy leaves a bad taste in your mouth, then let's go with republic, or better yet, something like 'Roosevelt regime,' which leaves no one guessing about our finger pointing.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: A Century of Ghastly Communist Sadism
    Communism isn't something for romantic nostalgia.

    Of course communism is wonderful romantic nostalgia.
    Just ask any history or political science professor in our beloved re-education camps of higher education.

  • gah87||

    "....and communism has been discredited in most eyes for many years..."

    You obviously do not live in New York City.

  • CE||

    or Seattle.

  • gah87||

    "....and communism has been discredited in most eyes for many years..."

    You obviously do not live in New York City.

  • Robert||

    Santayana probably was not speaking the literal truth when he said those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. But forgetting the past certainly makes its repetition, or at least its imitation, more likely.


    I'm not certain of that at all! Could not remembering the past make imitating it more likely by those who think it good? I mean those who know all about it, & like it?

    Which is why the world would be doing the future a favor if it spent the next couple of months reflecting somberly on the past century of communism's blood-soaked history.


    Be careful what you wish for!

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "but the famines were man-made disasters"

    Obama mommas!

  • ||

    I think the people of Derweze would disagree.

  • Sevo||

    I notice commie kid has been missing recently. Got tired of repeating lies?

  • Stephdumas||

    I guess the trigglypuffs would be triggered if this photo of Trotsky turned into a meme. ;-)
    https://imgflip.com/i/1vs40a

  • CE||

    I visited Eastern Europe and saw Stalin's limousine. The Eastern Europeans I saw it with were mortified, like they were looking at Dracula's cape. They remember the horror.

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